Gabby Giffords and The ad misericordiam logical fallacy

Screen Shot 2014-10-18 at 8.49.52 AMFormer Democratic Congressman from Arizona Gabby Giffords was shot in the head at a campaign rally in 2010.  We’re all glad she seems to have recovered from her physical wounds. We should not be glad she is now using that terrible experience in an attempt to force new gun control laws on law-abiding citizens who do not have any blame for what happened that day.  In fact, it was one of the those law-abiding citizens who was lawfully carrying a gun that stopped the shooter from hurting anyone else.

If she wanted to persuade anyone that gun control laws have merit, exploiting her horrific experience is the wrong way to go about it.  Public policy matters like gun rights should be open to deliberation and debate.  The politics of victimhood is always and everywhere an attempt to short circuit opposing argument.  It is an appeal to raw emotion in order to avoid the forces of reason and logic.  It reminds me of the old lawyer joke that goes like this: If the facts are on your side, pound the facts; if the law is on your side, pound the law; if neither the facts nor the law support you, pound the table.

Gabby Giffords’ arguing from pity and misery is even worse than the lawyer pounding the table because she is appealing to everyone’s sympathy for her victim status to gain support for her position.  The lawyer pounding the table doesn’t elicit sympathy from anyone. Giffords’ indulgence in the charged emotions of compassion for her injuries is meant to browbeat people into accepting her desired policy change without having to do the hard labor of making a reasonable argument for it.

Other Democrats running campaigns based on infringing gun rights apparently have noticed that Giffords’ tactics are backfiring, and they are seeking to distance themselves from her and her sleazy attempt to bully and intimidate people into self reproach.

Democrat gun control candidate distances herself from “aggressive” Gabby Giffords. New Hampshire’s WMUR 9 ABC reports that though incumbent Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH 1st District) is thoroughly in favor of gun control, the tone of attack in Giffords’ new ad is simply too much for her. The video on the outlet’s website clearly demonstrates Shea-Porter’s desire to move away from being associated with the former representative’s ad.

According to the National Journal, Carol Shea-Porter has “flatly denied any association” with the ads against Republican challenger Frank Guinta (R). Giffords’ group–Americans for Responsible Solutions (ARS)–is running the ad.

The ad attacks Guinta for his pro-Second Amendment stand in much the same way Giffords’ group has been attacking the pro-Second Amendment stand of Martha McSally (R) in Arizona’s District 2.

Guinta is leading in the polls.




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